Reportedly, President Donald Trump has a large list of people he intends to pardon before his presidency ends on January 20 of next year, including his three eldest children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
But there have also been hints that Trump may give WikiLeaks founder/computer hacker Julian Assange a pardone for his crimes, even though many in the national security community say Assange has done tremendous harm to U.S. security while also benefitting Russia in more ways than can possibly be calculated.
However, a pardon of Assange could open Trump up to even greater legal jeopardy than he’s already facing for alleged financial crimes in the state of New York, where multiple investigations are underway.
Noted national security reporter Dr. Marcy Wheeler believes that if indeed Assange receives a pardon, it would be a “quid pro quo” and quite clearly a “crime.”
Remember, Assange’s group of hackers, WikiLeaks, stole and then published thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016, which is in itself a crime. That crime benefitted Trump, who was repeatedly encouraging Russia (or anyone allied with Russia) to release information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton, probably because he knew he had no chance of winning otherwise, as the Washington Post has reported:
Trump himself said publicly that he wanted someone to hack Hillary, in case anyone has forgotten:
If Trump pardons Assange, he’s admitting that Assange committed a crime and that he was an accessory to that crime. That alone could be prosecuted in court.
So while Donald Trump may have dreams of making all his dirty laundry disappear with pardons, the one he has planned for Julian Assange could wind up backfiring in ways he cannot possibly imagine.